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Surge in melanoma skin cancer death rates

Friday August 21st 2020

Melanoma skin cancer death rates in the UK have increased 150% since the 1970s, with men being affected more, according to new analysis by Cancer Research UK.

Death rates among men are now more than three times higher now than they were in the 1970s, which could be explained by diagnoses at a later stage.

The charity’s figures show that the mortality rate increase is 149% for males and females combined, 80% for females and 233% for males. Among adults aged 15-99 in England, 10% of males are diagnosed at stage three or four compared with 7% of females.

Based on the percentage change in melanoma skin cancer (ICD10 C43), mortality rates have risen from 1.5 deaths per 100,000 people between 1971-1973 to 3.8 deaths per 100,000 people between 2015-2017 for person.

Among men, the rate has increased from 1.5 deaths per 100,000 between 1971-1973 to five deaths per 100,000 between 2015-2017, while among women, it has risen from 1.6 deaths per 100,000 between 1971-1973 to 2.9 deaths per 100,000 between 2015-2017.

Cancer Research UK said many of the skin cancer deaths could be prevented as 86% of cases are linked to too much sun or sunbed use, with the risk of developing melanoma being about three times higher in people who have had sunburn once every two years.

Figures show that 91% of melanoma patients in England are diagnosed at an early stage, and of these, 91% will survive their disease for five years or more.

However, since the early 1990s, melanoma incidence rates have more than doubled in the UK.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “There are many benefits to going outside, felt now more than ever because of sustained periods of lockdown. But something we should all be aware of is sun safety and how to reduce our risk of melanoma.

“Even though many summer holidays on beaches abroad have come to a halt, you can still get burnt in the UK sun. With rates rising, it’s never been more important to stay safe in the sun and contact your GP if you notice any unusual change to your skin.”

Tags: Cancer | Dermatology | Men's Health | UK News

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